Standing at an elevation of 4,167 meters, Mount Toubkal reigns as the highest summit in the
Atlas Mountains. It presents a non-technical ascent, requiring only a reasonable level of
fitness and determination. Easily accessible from Marrakech, Toubkal is nestled within a
network of trekking trails that unveil breathtaking high-altitude mountain vistas, lush valleys,
and relatively untouched Berber communities. The climb is feasible year-round, although
from November to May, snow blankets elevations above 3,000 meters, necessitating
crampons and ice axes.

Trailhead: The journey commences in Imlil (1,740m), a picturesque village surrounded by
walnut groves and apple trees at the head of the Imlil Valley, intersected by a rushing river.
Imlil – Toubkal Refuge: The direct route to the Toubkal Refuge involves a four-hour uphill
trek from Imlil, passing through the shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m). Many prefer a
more scenic approach via the neighboring Azzaden Valley.

Toubkal Refuge (3,207m): Regardless of the chosen route, an overnight stay at the refuge is
unavoidable. Dormitories are often crowded, and the bathroom facilities are less than ideal.
In favorable weather, camping is a preferable alternative to the dorms.
Toubkal Refuge – Tizi n Toubkal Pass (South Col): From the refuge, the trail ascends the
South Col—a lengthy and moderately steep scree slope rising 750 meters to the Tizi-n
Toubkal Pass.

Tizi n Toubkal Pass – Summit: From the pass, the trail follows a dramatic ridge to the
summit, providing spectacular views in all directions. The final stretch involves an easy
scramble set back from the precipitous drop of the ridge.
Summit (4,167m): On a clear day, the summit unveils breathtaking views of the High Atlas
Mountains and extends as far as the Sahara Desert in the distant horizon.
Optional Descent via North Col: While many descend using the same route, the
adventurous may opt for a longer, more dramatic descent via the North Col, involving
moderate scrambling from the summit.
The North Col: This classical U-shaped valley offers stunning scenery and a more remote
ambiance with fewer fellow trekkers.
Remains of a 1960s Portuguese Army cargo plane: Wreckage from a 1960s plane crash is
scattered eerily about the mountainside, adding a historical element to the trek.

Back to the Refuge: After 4 to 6 hours, weary trekkers return to the refuge for a welldeserved lunch. Some may descend to Imlil and Marrakech on the same day.

Toubkal Route Choices:

  • 2 Days: A straightforward ascent and descent via the same trail from Imlil, with
    the summit tackled on the second day.
  • 3 Days: Involves Toubkal via the picturesque Azzaden Valley, with a challenging
    traverse over the Aguelzim Pass.
  • 4-5 Days: A balanced route exploring remote Berber villages, valleys, and high
    passes, crossing from Imlil Valley to Azzaden Valley.
  • 6 Days: Geared towards seasoned trekkers, featuring wild camping, high passes,
    and a trail through remote areas.

Weather on Toubkal: Spring is considered optimal, with warmer temperatures and some
snow cover for ideal trekking conditions. Winter demands skilled guides and specialized
gear, while summer and autumn can be hot with loose scree, manageable with an early
Health, Fitness & Experience Requirements: Outside winter, Toubkal is accessible with
reasonable fitness. No specialist gear is required, and with guides and mules, the task
becomes more manageable. Altitude sickness is a possibility, but severe conditions are rare.
Equipment for Toubkal Trek: In non-winter months, no specialist equipment is required.
Hiking boots, weatherproof clothing, a good sleeping bag, and a first aid kit are essential.